Stormy start to Yosemite

Storm headed towards Yosemite

Tech Info:D300s with Nikkor 50mm prime, f/16, 1/3 of a sec with a EV bias of -2. ISO 100

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Its been just over 3 years in the bay area and I can’t believe that I hadn’t been to Yosemite. Its another paradise (though Yellowstone is my all time fav). This place has so many opportunities for pictures, you can just spend an entire day sitting at one location and play with the changing light. No amount of adjectives can truly describe it and you have to make a visit to experience it first hand. If you ever visit bay area, time it in a way that you can spend some days to experience the winter magic at Yosemite. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

I was supposed to carpool with 2 more folks starting from San Jose. Since I stay a good 20-30 miles away, I decided to take the Caltrain. I’ve always wanted to experience this train ride and I was thrilled at this opportunity. At the same time I was scared to death. The reasons are pretty weird (at least that’s what my wife says). For many folks it just a train ride taking me from northern part to the southern side. Its as simple it can be. But for me it isin’t. I’ve been known to make a mess of simple things. As it turns out, I finally did make a mess out of this one too.

My wife did all the checking of train timings and instructed me with everything I need to know to make this short train journey. Another friend of mine drove me to the station which is pretty close to my house. Looking at my state, she even wanted to stay there till I board the train. But I insisted on her leaving as I was pretty confident of making it myself…comeon..I’m old enough to figure may out.

I head to the booth to buy my tickets. You insert your credit card or cash into the machine and select some buttons and get your ticket. But I got stuck in the first step; the machine wasn’t recognizing my credit card. I kept trying and trying and finally it read the damm thing and gave me my ticket. Being little frustrated at the booth for behaving like that, I made my way to the platform and waited for the train to arrive. It was supposed to make the stop at 10:06 AM and they keep it pretty punctual. I see a train arriving and I’m all set to board it. As the train came near by, I realized that the train had 3821 as its number and the one I’m supposed to take should be 236. Just to make sure, I saw a guy with the Caltrain jacket get down and I asked him, politely, as to what was the train’s number. Again, not sure why he was so pissed with that question, he just pointed his index finger to the big board which said 3821 (to his fairness it probably was a dumb question to ask). I mustered some courage and asked another guy who immediately responded “I don’t know”. But seeing the disappointment on my face, he went to a nearby board and started checking something. About 40s later, he says “its 236”. On hearing that, I started to run towards the door, but wasn’t quick enough to make it and the doors got shut. Initial instinct was to whistle (yeah, I can whistle quite loud) to the driver to open the doors, then realized that those things hardly matter here. The only train in the morning going towards San Jose left the platform with me standing with my luggage on the platform and yeah, having bought the ticket for it too 🙁

All my friends tell me that I should have just got on it…irrespective of the train number. How am I supposed to know that the train number doesn’t matter here. Its like you want to take a train to Delhi and you are standing on the platform waiting for it eagerly and the train that comes by (at the same time) has got a board of Nagpur or some city in the same northern direction. Would you take it? Of course not. You would wait for the train with the right board to arrive and thats exactly what I was going to do. But now I learnt a thing about Caltrains; numbers don’t matter. So next time I’m going to board the train and then ask questions 🙂

Since I didn’t make it to the carpool, I had to drive all the way to Yosemite, alone in my car. It was fun in its own way, but I would prefer to avoid it anytime 🙂

The weekend’s weather was pretty bad…snow storms and rains throughout saturday. As per the prediction, it was supposed to start on Friday at 4pm. So my wife made sure I understood that if I’ve to avoid driving in wet conditions, I had to reach the place before 4pm. I started pretty late, but eventually made it to the destination at 3:30pm. I guess thats why my wife was pretty scared of me driving alone. All iz Well in the end.

About this shot: En route, you could literally see the storm clouds getting formed. I stopped at a pullout and decided to do an HDR of the scene as there was so much amount of drama unfolding in the sky. Used my umbrella to protect the camera gear and took some shots. The movement in the clouds was so fast that I couldn’t avoid it with having a gap of 1s between the shots. That’s the least amount my remote cord can function at. So I chucked the idea of HDR and used a single exposure to process. It isin’t that bad as it does give you an idea of how the weather was going to be. Bad weather sure does give you some interesting shots 🙂

9 thoughts on “Stormy start to Yosemite

  1. he he pity you! i had similar experience when I tried taking BART to Oakland Airport. I was wondering and was too concerned about train number and directions & stuff. And then after missing 2 to 3 trains I realized all damn BART goes to the location where I wanted to go. Fortunately since it is BART the frequency was high and I can able to catch the flight to LA from Oakland 🙂

  2. ha ha sorry bt i couldn't resist laughing at your mess up.Yeah..m grown up to figure it out..let me alone!!btw is there no display board to say the stations the train is calling at?They have it here so i suppose they might have there also..But the place is worth all the effort..not judging the book by your experience says it is amazing..

  3. Next time, you allow your friend to stay till you board the train…or rather forcefully push you in before you even realize whats happening…ha ha….anyways your driving got you some good pics on the way I guess…nice shot Sudhi!…but what is that blue patch on the mountain?

  4. @Sharan: You are brave machi, I wouldn't try it for an airport :)@Nutan: After the industrial revolution, the automobile guys made sure that the train system is pretty primitive. So not all stations have that announcement made.@Sandy: Even I can't, but my back reminds me that I drove all the way :)@Peshla: Will take your advice for next time he he. Gosh I wish I had listened to you on that day. The blue patch is from a cheap filter I had on the 50mm prime lens :(. The lens is crystal clear, but a cheap filter can screw it up big time.

  5. Take the caltrain management to Mumbai. They'll surely learn a thing or two from the local trains:)…By the way, instead of asking the people on station, how about boarding the train and asking the passengers?;)

  6. ha ha ha…reminded me of the incident when you boarded the wrong train in bangalore when going for a colleague's wedding

  7. God, that was funny. Imagine if those trains had the automatic shut-off for the doors…I would have landed in a different city instead of attending Zul's wedding in Chennai 🙂

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